January 4, 2015
Proverbs 4:20-27 (read the whole chapter)
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
It may be the greatest gift we have to offer another.
It may be the most scarce commodity of our time. Everything vies for it.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, Pinterest, WordPress, Tumblr, Vimeo and a hundred other platforms all aspire to capture it.
We need to think of it as our most priceless asset. Why? Because whatever commands it ultimately commands us. Every marketer, advertiser and salesperson worth their salt knows this. Every commercial, banner ad, pop-up box, lead page aims to get it.
The little word “viral” is another way of saying we’ve got it.
What is it?
Whatever gets our attention ultimately gets us.
Solomon put it this way,
“Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.“
Go back now and re-read today’s text. It’s all about attention.
Jesus put it this way,
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34.
You see, everything under the sun cries out to us, “Read me! Facebook me! Tweet me! Blog me! Instagram me! Snapchat me! YouTube me! Buy me! Download me! Pick me!” They are all small, and sometimes large, ways of saying, “Treasure me!” We pay attention to what we treasure and our heart follows. (It’s why pornography on the one hand and obsession with body image on the other are so devastating.)
So what does it mean to “guard your heart?” It means to pay attention to what you are paying attention to.
The Psalmist put it this way,
“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4.
Our attention is something akin to the muscular system of the soul. If we do not work at stretching and strengthening our span of attention the muscles will atrophy. Atrophied attention is another way of saying distraction. Attention is an appreciable asset or it will be a depreciable one.
There are at least two ways to work on this. First, we need to decide we want to become an aggressively attentive person rather than a perpetually distracted one. Second, we could take a “distraction” audit. As much as possible, pause at the end of each hour during the day. Take a couple of minutes to write down the things in the last hour that distracted you. Third, make a conscious choice to give your attention to Jesus, the Wisdom of God. For one uninterrupted moment, try thinking about him, meditating on something he said, visualizing a story he told in your mind’s eye, rememberizing one of his wise sayings. Later in the day, try another minute. See if you can do it once each hour. Try it again tomorrow. Next week move up to two minutes.
In fact, just skip one and two above and cut straight to three. Let’s keep it simple.
Paul put it this way,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
One attentive, uninterrupted minute– on Jesus, who put it this way,
“Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Do it now. I’m going to set my timer for sixty minutes tomorrow and see how many consecutive hours I can do this attention mini workout. Join me.
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